185: Tom Harkin RECYCLED

Tom Harkin driving Isbjorn south in the 2015 Caribbean 1500.

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It's Tuesday, March 28, my sister’s birthday, and I’m home in Pennsylvania at her house enjoying a long weekend off the boat between trips. We’ve had an amazing season so far, four trip down and seven to go! One more Caribbean jaunt next week to Grenada & back, and then we’ll be on our way to Europe in May! I hope it goes without saying, but Mia & I are EXTREMELY grateful to both our Isbjorn crew and our podcast supporters for allowing us to live this amazing lifestyle. By following our dreams, we hope we’re continuing to inspire YOU to follow yours.

Of course, you can join us on Isbjorn for a taste of ocean sailing - go to 59-north.com/offshore to see our full calendar. We’ve got just three spaces left for all of 2017, on our final passage of the year in the Baltic in August. Then, options are open for our Arctic passages in 2018! Hope to see you on the high seas!

Don’t forget, if you want to support the podcast, contribute directly to us at onthewind.co - just click the big blue FUND button. Or, if you’re a member on Patreon, go to patreon.com/onthewind to subscribe there. Huge thanks to those of you who continue to support us.

Big thanks to On the Wind’s presenting sponsor Weems & Plath. I’m actually recording this in almost real-time - it’s Tuesday morning right now, the day this will release. Anyhow, Mia & I spent the weekend in Annapolis and paid a visit to Peter and the gang at the Weems & Plath headquarters in Eastport. Peter showed me around their workshop in back, and I met the full-time clockmaker that Weems & Plath employs. I didn’t know this, but all the clocks and barometers that Weems & Plath sells are hand-assembled right there in Eastport. We got a new Ship’s Bell mechanical clock for Isbjorn that Peter even customized with our polar bear logo (it’s the coolest thing I’ve ever seen!), and I got to meet the guys who put it all together! Everyone at Weems & Plath takes such care and pride in what they produce, and it’s super inspiring every time I visit in Annapolis. As our crew know, we’ve got loads of Weems & Plath instruments and tools aboard Isbjorn, my favorite - and most often used during our chart briefings - is the simple and elegant ‘Crystal Magnifier’. It’s made of optical-grade crystal and has an engraved compass rose on the bottom. We did a little night mission last week, departing out of St. Croix at midnight, and the magnifier came in especially handy to aid in identifying the myriad buoys & their flashing signatures that mark round reef, the snaking entrance into Christiansted harbor. At a glance, the compass rose told us how many degrees we’d need to turn at each of the two doglegs in the channel. It’s a simple, 39 dollar tool, often overlooked, but it’s probably the single most-used navigation tool we have onboard Isbjorn. You can even get your boat’s name engraved on it. So check out this and all that Weems & Plath has to offer at weems-plath.com, and big thanks to them for sponsoring the show.

Retired Senator Tom Harkin & I recorded this ‘recycled’ episode at his house in Hope Town, in the Bahamas, almost two years ago now. Tom was a career senator, but this episode is nothing about politics. Rather, it’s about Tom’s incredible, unbelievable life story. He was a fighter pilot during Vietnam and became one of the few people ever to eject from a jet and survive to tell the tale. He also tells his insane story about building a wooden trimaran in Japan and having it’s Westerbeke engine shipped over on an aircraft carrier. Sailing has been the ‘red thread’ that has tied together Tom’s life story. This is my all-time favorite interview, so even if you’ve heard it before, it’s worth another listen.